ALL IN. Chase your dreams but chase them together. Strengthen each other. Build confidence as a unit and trust the process. Communicate the good and bad. Be ambitious. Above all have fun doing it. TEAM.

Mitchelton-SCOTT – That’s our ethos. It’s more than the 6 riders who take to the start. It’s the riders still at home preparing for the next races. The staff at the races working when the sun rises and then well into the evening. The staff not at the races but still working hard at service course or a home office somewhere in the world. My coach. The sponsors who make our job possible. The families, partners and friends who support us no matter what.

The team spirit at Mitchelton-SCOTT is why I feel grateful to put on this jersey every single day. When I think about the last months of racing this is the one thing that stands out for me above any other thing. The wins and results? They are special and memorable but the teamwork that goes into those results are what make it so much more special.

Let me share with you a story from my last race: Emakumeen Bira – a 4 day World Tour race in the Basque Country. Mountains? Yes please!

We sit in the camper before stage 2 and listen to our DS Martin running us through the course for today. We discuss the technical aspects, the objectives and the role of each rider. “Our goal here is to win the Tour. Spratty is our leader and our goal is to win with her”. Gulp… pressure. It did not come as a surprise. In our October meetings we agreed that this would be a race where I would take on sole leadership: My first time doing so in a World Tour race.

The stage goes perfectly. Jess and Gracie are like two engines positioning us perfectly into the longer climbs and we start at the front. The climbs are raced hard but not too hard. Or maybe my legs are great, I think to myself.  We manage the descent well and onto the technical and hilly circuits. Vleuty and I are together in the front group but within a few kilometres Lucy and Alex are back too. Strength in numbers – the best way to be.

I win the bonus sprint for some crucial GC seconds then tell Annemiek to sprint for the next one to take the seconds for me so I can save my energy for the finale. I have a little chuckle to myself thinking about how we will laugh at this very out-of-character request from me tonight at dinner but quickly focus again on saving my energy. There are attacks flying. Trek-Segafredo are particularly active with all of their riders but I tell myself that’s a good sign because it means they are not confident for the finale. Alex and Lucy take on a monster amount of work. Attacks go but every time they make it back to the front to keep it under control. My natural instinct is to help but I know that I need to be better at saving my energy and being accountable for my job to finish it off at the end.

3kms to go. Lucy takes to the front and strings out the small bunch that is left. I find Vleuty’s wheel and ask her to move up. I see the final left hand corner taking us onto the 1km climb. We are almost there and I tell Vleuty to already go now. She accelerates around the corner and starts the climb at the front, out of the seat. I don’t look behind once. I’m only focused ahead. I’m dying, my legs are exploding. 700m…600m….500m. We are still sitting first and second. I can feel Paladin coming up on my side so I push out a bit and cover it. 400m…. 300m…. I move around Vleuty and prepare myself for the final corner into the last 200m. 200m. So close… yet so far on this long uphill drag (I’m sure anyone who saw that Twitter video will know what I’m talking about). I get out of the seat and go. I don’t look back and all I hear is my DS Martin in my radio telling me to keep pushing. My legs tell me to sit down but my head tells me to push and don’t sit down until the finish line.

I cross the line. I’m too exhausted to take both hands off the handlebars. I scream with happiness and punch the air. I soon find our soigneur Nadia and celebrate with her before seeing Lucy and Vleuty too. I’m whisked away quickly for podium duties but all I really want in this moment is to see my whole team. To thank them all for their work and to celebrate together. Seeing their happiness about my result reminds me that it is not just MY result. It is OUR result. It belongs to everyone in my team and this is such a humbling moment.

Emakumeen Bira did not have the fairytale ending we all hoped for. I finished second on GC only 2 seconds behind the win. It’s easy to be disappointed but at the same time when you know you or your team could not have given anything more then it’s easy to look back on it with good memories. Look at any photos from the race and you will see just how amazing my team were. It was not a sad team meeting at the end. It was a meeting full of pride and gratitude for the work that everyone did during the week – both staff and riders. The laughs, the tears and the pain. It’s what we experience together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Team.

That’s what team means to me. And you?

With just under 6 months until L’Étape Australia it’s time to think about your team. Who can challenge you? Who can help you build your fitness and strength? Who can help your confidence? My team might look different to your team… but everyone has a team around them. Your family, your local bunch ride, friends, bike shop. Even that local café that supplies you with that all important coffee to get you home after a big (or small) day on the bike. Above all your team should motivate you, drive you forward and keep you smiling (even when suffering ;))

 

 

Always a team player, it is common to see Amanda sacrificing herself for her teammates.

The 2012 and 2016 Australian road race champion is known for her big heart and big engine. Amanda recorded her first European victory at the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol in 2015 and has taken a big step up as a leader in the outfit following the retirement on Loes Gunnewijk.